If you are thinking about how to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, this blog can guide you through the entire planning process. We have broken down everything you need to know before Mount Kilimanjaro climb into two parts:
- Planning the itinerary for the trip to Kilimanjaro.
- Preparing for the Kilimanjaro Climb.
- Planning the itinerary for the trip to Kilimanjaro
- Preparing for the Kilimanjaro Climb
Planning the itinerary for the trip to Kilimanjaro
When planning for the Kilimanjaro climb, you will need to focus on the date, route, and duration for climbing Uhuru Peak, and travel operators.
1. Best time to climb Mount Kilimanjaro:
Kilimanjaro is climbable throughout the year. The period between December to March and June to October are the best times to travel for Kilimanjaro climb because the weather is warm and dry. You will be able to enjoy the panoramic views as the weather will be clear during this time.
However, more than 35000 travelers try to ascent Kilimanjaro, and the majority of them set their hike to Mount Kilimanjaro during dry seasons. This high number means a crowded route.
In Tanzania, the long rainy season is from March till May. The short rainy season is in November. So, if you are an avid traveler who does not mind a bit of rain, you can schedule a trip during the short rainy season to avoid the crowd during your Kilimanjaro hike.
2. Best route for Kilimanjaro climb:
There are multiple routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
The Marangu route (referred to as the Coca-Cola route) and the Machame route (referred to as the whiskey route) are the classic trekking route to ascent Uhuru Peak. You can also choose from Lemosho, Rongai, Umbwe, and the Northern circuit.
Each route has its own set of attractions and drawbacks. Some are challenging and are perfect for adventurous trekkers. Others are slow-climb and perfect for acclimatization.
3. Optimal duration to summit Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro:
Although Mount Kili is popular as a peak that requires no mountaineering skills to reach the summit, it does not mean the trek to the top is easy. This highest free-standing mountain is 5,895 meters (19340.551 feet) above sea level. So, altitude sickness is the main reason most of the Kilimanjaro Climb fail. One way to avoid altitude sickness is to choose a route that elevates slowly and offer better acclimatization.
Another way would be to take more time during the ascent. By increasing your trip duration by a day or two, you will have enough time to adapt to the higher altitude and gain a higher chance of successful climb.
4. Registered travel operator for Kilimanjaro, Tanzania:
Kilimanjaro National Park requires a travel party to be accompanied by a registered guide/travel operator such as Himalayan Glacier for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Since you will be needing guides, cooks, porters, camping equipment, water, food, and more, you need to select a reliable travel operator.
Himalayan Glacier has been operating for the past 30 years with the motto ‘Explore the world your way’. You can either choose from our handcrafted best itineraries for Kilimanjaro Climb or tailor-made private climb as per your need.
Preparing for the Kilimanjaro Climb
You will need to gather all the travel documents and travel equipment, get vaccinations, and need to start the training to keep your body in shape.
1. Assembling your Travel documents:
You will need a visa and passport with at least 6-month validity to enter Tanzania. Travelers can get a visa on arrival if your country does not have Tanzania Embassy. You can check the website of Tanzania Embassy for details on visa requirements and application.
The airport closest to Mt. Kilimanjaro is the Kilimanjaro Airport (JRO) which is situated halfway between Arusha and Moshi. Most travelers choose to land there.
Mount Kilimanjaro is closer to Moshi, so, you will find many trekking agencies in Moshi. However, Arusha, the safari capital of Tanzania, also has many options for tour operators.
You can also fly to/from Tanzania via other popular airports: Dar es Salaam, Zanzibar, Nairobi, which will extend your duration of the trip and you will have more time to get familiar with Tanzania.
Please note that you will need to present a return ticket at the point of entry to show that you have enough funds to support yourself through the trip. Travel insurance is also mandatory for trekking to Mount Kilimanjaro.
2. Getting Medications and Vaccinations:
We recommend that you get vaccinated against diseases like measles, chickenpox, flu, and more. Apart from the list of vaccinations recommended for Tanzania, you will need to consult with your doctor for the additional medication you might require.
3. Selecting the trekking equipment:
The ascent to Mount Kilimanjaro is basically a hike. You do not need any special training or mountaineering equipment.
Himalayan Glacier will provide you with camping equipment, sleeping bags, and down jackets, which are included in the trip cost.
We have prepared a complete packing list for Kilimanjaro Climb. (Although the blog is titled Everest Base Camp the packing list is applicable for Kilimanjaro Climb as well)
4. Starting on the warm-ups:
High altitude means lesser oxygen, and your body can react very differently in the thin air of higher elevations. So, you will need to keep your body physically and mentally fit to successfully reach the summit.
If you are not used to doing exercises on a regular basis, you might need to consider jogging for about an hour for at least 5 days a week. This will help you against muscle cramps and hamstrings during your trek to Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro.
You can schedule your trips from December to March or June to October, even November via different routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
Travelers will need to present a visa, a valid passport, a return ticket, and travel insurance at the entry point. You can also get a visa on arrival.
The climb up to the Uhuru Peak, Kilimanjaro does not require any special skill. If you are in excellent physical and mental condition and are accompanied by an experienced guide, you can trek to the summit easily.
Are there any other crucial factors a traveler should keep in mind while planning for a hike to Mount Kilimanjaro? Let us know in the comments below.